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UT researchers’ paper receives award from American Educational Research Association

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, a faculty member in the Higher Education Program, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, data systems analyst from Institutional Research, received the exemplary paper award from the Special Interest Groups (SIG): Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education within the American Educational Research Association.

The honor was for their paper on “Confidence to Perform in the Global Marketplace: Constructing and Validating a Survey Instrument for Community College Students.”

Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst, left, and Dr. Mingyang Liu, right, posed for a photo with their award, which they received from Dr. Natasha Jankowski, Special Interest Groups chair of the American Educational Research Association.

The award is targeted for anyone submitting a paper to the SIG track, and eligibility for the recognition requires acceptance of the paper into the SIG program.

“Winning the award reassured me that the research Ming and I did could be of use,” said Slantcheva-Durst, associate professor in the Judith Herb College of Education. “More importantly, I was very happy that it was this specific study that received the award — a study where I worked with someone I have known as a student in the Higher Education Program, then as a PhD candidate in another College of Education program, and then as a colleague. For me, this award reaffirmed the value in collaboration with students and colleagues.”

Their paper focuses on global awareness and the ability to work in an increasingly global environment. They studied college students’ confidence to perform in the global market place and their beliefs in their own abilities to successfully carry out job-related tasks.

“Our goal was to operationalize this concept, and design and test an instrument that gauges that confidence,” Slantcheva-Durst said.

The instrument they developed can be used to assist educators in evaluating the results of their efforts to increase students’ global awareness.

“We hope findings from this paper can offer useful feedback to college internationalization-focused staff in their efforts to assess outcomes of international initiatives for college students, thus supporting program assessment, evaluation of student growth, and institutional decision-making,” Liu said.

Liu and Slantcheva-Durst traveled to New York City to receive their award earlier this month.

“I think this award is very affirming that our research really makes a difference in the field, and I want to continue to pursue this direction in the future as a quantitative researcher in social sciences,” Liu said.

The American Educational Research Association is a national society that strives to advance knowledge to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.